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Mozarabe - packing for March and combining stages

2020 Camino Guides

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
Hi there!

About to take on the Camino Mozarabe from Almería to Mérida, walking between 3 and 28 March. I've got a couple of questions based on temperature and time.

1. Does anyone have advice on what would be needed in terms of keeping warm? I guess I'm most concerned about evenings and sleeping in albergues (I'll be staying in the most basic options). I'm currently looking at normal hiking gear + light fleece hoody and thermals. As well as clothing, I'm considering whether I'll need my warm, but slightly bulky sleeping bag?

2. As my time is slightly limited, and it would be nice to see some of the sites in Almeria, Granada and Córdoba, I was wondering where I could bank a few days by combining stages? I'm comfortable with 40km stretches, more if it's easy going, but I'd rather not be route marching through beautiful stages, or past cultural gems.

Thanks for any advice and if anyone happens to be walking at a similar time, it would be great to hear from you!
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I would take the warm sleeping bag. I walked from Malaga to Merida last February and some of the albergues were chilly. There can be long gaps between visits by pilgrims and they are not usually heated then. It can take a long time to warm the place up after a few days empty!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi there!

About to take on the Camino Mozarabe from Almería to Mérida, walking between 3 and 28 March. I've got a couple of questions based on temperature and time.

1. Does anyone have advice on what would be needed in terms of keeping warm? I guess I'm most concerned about evenings and sleeping in albergues (I'll be staying in the most basic options). I'm currently looking at normal hiking gear + light fleece hoody and thermals. As well as clothing, I'm considering whether I'll need my warm, but slightly bulky sleeping bag?

2. As my time is slightly limited, and it would be nice to see some of the sites in Almeria, Granada and Córdoba, I was wondering where I could bank a few days by combining stages? I'm comfortable with 40km stretches, more if it's easy going, but I'd rather not be route marching through beautiful stages, or past cultural gems.

Thanks for any advice and if anyone happens to be walking at a similar time, it would be great to hear from you!
Hi, Rhomer, Welcome to the forum! I can’t give advice on weather because I started from Almería in mid April. If you are someone who “runs cold” I would definitely take the sleeping bag.

What are the stages you are starting from? I walked two years ago from Almería to Salamanca. I arrived in Mérida on day 21, which is pretty close to your schedule. My stages are here. You could also add a day by combining days 1 and 2 into one 38 day from Almería to Alboloduy. I walked out to Rioja and took a bus back, because about 15 of us had a meetup in an Almería bar with members of the Amigos Associaation, aka, angels of the Mozárabe. That would be a very long first day, there is some nasty river bed walking (that is a common feature of the first days) and there is one killer descent, but if you like and are accustomed to long stages, I think you would be fine.

Great camino for late winter/early spring, IMO. I loved it in April! Buen camino, Laurie
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
Hi, Rhomer, Welcome to the forum! I can’t give advice on weather because I started from Almería in mid April. If you are someone who “runs cold” I would definitely take the sleeping bag.

What are the stages you are starting from? I walked two years ago from Almería to Salamanca. I arrived in Mérida on day 21, which is pretty close to your schedule. My stages are here. You could also add a day by combining days 1 and 2 into one 38 day from Almería to Alboloduy. I walked out to Rioja and took a bus back, because about 15 of us had a meetup in an Almería bar with members of the Amigos Associaation, aka, angels of the Mozárabe. That would be a very long first day, there is some nasty river bed walking (that is a common feature of the first days) and there is one killer descent, but if you like and are accustomed to long stages, I think you would be fine.

Great camino for late winter/early spring, IMO. I loved it in April! Buen camino, Laurie
Thanks for this. These stage lengths look great to me. My starting point for stages mainly follows the Almería association's guide and is otherwise guided by availability of albergues. I was thinking of doing the first stage to Rioja on arrival, but now want to spend a little time in Almeria, so combining the first two stages might be a good alternative option.

So, I think I'll be taking the sleeping bag then!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for this. These stage lengths look great to me. My starting point for stages mainly follows the Almería association's guide and is otherwise guided by availability of albergues. I was thinking of doing the first stage to Rioja on arrival, but now want to spend a little time in Almeria, so combining the first two stages might be a good alternative option.

So, I think I'll be taking the sleeping bag then!
If you have been reading the forum’s Mozárabe posts, you already know this, but just to repeat — by all means get in touch with the association in Almería. They will help you with anything that comes up, give you the code for albergue entry, and just generally be your guardian angel waiting in the wings. They are an amazing bunch of people, unlike any other camino association I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with. Buen camino, Rhomer, let us know how it goes!
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
If you have been reading the forum’s Mozárabe posts, you already know this, but just to repeat — by all means get in touch with the association in Almería. They will help you with anything that comes up, give you the code for albergue entry, and just generally be your guardian angel waiting in the wings. They are an amazing bunch of people, unlike any other camino association I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with. Buen camino, Rhomer, let us know how it goes!
I did read about the association here and got in touch. So, meeting Nely next Tuesday. I must admit, it was reading about them that decided me on this camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2009), Camino Frances (2012), Via de la Plata (2013) and Camino del Norte planned for May, 2015
It is a beautiful Camino and absolutely, an outstanding Association. I left Almería at the end of March (2018) and there was many a morning that I could happily jump on the layer of ice over the puddles (I liked to do that when I was 7 and I like it no less now I am over 70). The wind coming off the Sierra Nevada can be biting and some of the albergues are very basic. But you will be in time for the almond blossom🙂🙂🙂!
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
It is a beautiful Camino and absolutely, an outstanding Association. I left Almería at the end of March (2018) and there was many a morning that I could happily jump on the layer of ice over the puddles (I liked to do that when I was 7 and I like it no less now I am over 70). The wind coming off the Sierra Nevada can be biting and some of the albergues are very basic. But you will be in time for the almond blossom🙂🙂🙂!
Thank you! Reading this somehow dispelled all those last minute doubts and worries. It's wonderful to be reminded of the sheer joy of it all 🙂
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
Thank you! Reading this somehow dispelled all those last minute doubts and worries. It's wonderful to be reminded of the sheer joy of it all 🙂
(and to be able to justify my new thermals...)
 

Acoupar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (2017)
Sanabres (2017)
Mozarabe (2018)
Ingles (2018)
Portuguese (Lisbon) 2019
It can be very chilly in the mornings on the Mozarabe. I wore my gloves, buff and a tuque. Layers of merino wool and a windbreaker/rain jacket. We found most albergues provided blankets, and some accommodations provided everything. But still needed our own down blankets a couple of times.
Almeria is a very interesting city and worth 2 days. Our first day we walked to Santa Fe de Mondújar, mostly tarmac and dry riverbed. Nothing special till after Rioja, so I’d definitely recommend bussing to Rioja and walking from there.
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
It can be very chilly in the mornings on the Mozarabe. I wore my gloves, buff and a tuque. Layers of merino wool and a windbreaker/rain jacket. We found most albergues provided blankets, and some accommodations provided everything. But still needed our own down blankets a couple of times.
Almeria is a very interesting city and worth 2 days. Our first day we walked to Santa Fe de Mondújar, mostly tarmac and dry riverbed. Nothing special till after Rioja, so I’d definitely recommend bussing to Rioja and walking from there.
Thank you! My kit is getting a bit shabby, but I think I can rustle up something comparable. A timely reminder re. gloving up against morning pole walking! I did a lot of walking in the Canaries and it sounds as though conditions may be similar.
The more I read about Almería, the more I regret having so little time to spend there. But definitely glad I'm not rushing straight through. I'm a bit of a bloody-minded completionist, so will probably walk to Rioja. However, if the first stage is nothing special, I'd be more inclined to merge the first two stages and route march the first few hours!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you! My kit is getting a bit shabby, but I think I can rustle up something comparable. A timely reminder re. gloving up against morning pole walking! I did a lot of walking in the Canaries and it sounds as though conditions may be similar.
The more I read about Almería, the more I regret having so little time to spend there. But definitely glad I'm not rushing straight through. I'm a bit of a bloody-minded completionist, so will probably walk to Rioja. However, if the first stage is nothing special, I'd be more inclined to merge the first two stages and route march the first few hours!
I’m like you Rhomer — that word “completionist” describes my camino attitude as well. Others have less kind words to describe it. ;)Anyway, the walk to Rioja is pretty standard suburban charmlessness. If you can combine visiting Almería in the morning and walking mid afternoon to Rioja, that might be a good option. The two five star attractions, IMO, are the castle (great views, nice gardens, interesting info panels) and the Civil War shelters. If you speak Spanish, the guides are excellent and there are video interviews with residents that really bring it to life. It is in high demand, so I think you should buy tickets ahead of time if you plan to go, that’s what the 2016 Mob on the Mozárabe did.

When we walked the first round of almond blossoms had been killed in a frost, and the second replacement round was in full swing. So we got some of the advantages of early spring even though in a “normal” spring, the blossoms would have come and gone by our start date.
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
I would take the warm sleeping bag. I walked from Malaga to Merida last February and some of the albergues were chilly. There can be long gaps between visits by pilgrims and they are not usually heated then. It can take a long time to warm the place up after a few days empty!
The sleeping bag is now packed - glad I asked here!
Non-walking friends are slightly bemused by my packing concerns, and the need to take thermals on a trip to southern Spain :)
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
I’m like you Rhomer — that word “completionist” describes my camino attitude as well. Others have less kind words to describe it. ;)Anyway, the walk to Rioja is pretty standard suburban charmlessness. If you can combine visiting Almería in the morning and walking mid afternoon to Rioja, that might be a good option. The two five star attractions, IMO, are the castle (great views, nice gardens, interesting info panels) and the Civil War shelters. If you speak Spanish, the guides are excellent and there are video interviews with residents that really bring it to life. It is in high demand, so I think you should buy tickets ahead of time if you plan to go, that’s what the 2016 Mob on the Mozárabe did.

When we walked the first round of almond blossoms had been killed in a frost, and the second replacement round was in full swing. So we got some of the advantages of early spring even though in a “normal” spring, the blossoms would have come and gone by our start date.
Thanks for the tips and sympathy! (I did write 'bloody-minded' before choosing a kinder word to describe myself...). However, the more I find out about Almería, the more I wonder if I'll even get out of town. So many thing to complete 🙂
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
The more I read about Almería, the more I regret having so little time to spend there. But definitely glad I'm not rushing straight through.
Hi @Romer,
You are so right about Almeria being a place full of interesting sites to visit that will help you appreciate the areas you'll be walking through. One little known museum that I can highly recommend for getting a quick overview of the history of the area is the newish Centro de Interpretation on the Plaza de la Constitución. A one hour visit there will pay off handsomely!
  • Centro de Interpretation: Closed Mondays Tue-Sat 10-8:30; Sun 10-2 free turismodealmeria.org
  • La Alcazaba - Closed Mondays T-Sat 9-6; Sun 9-3 free Go early to avoid the crowds. museosdeandalucia.es
  • Cable Ingles - where the ore from the mines you'll be walking by was shipped out turismodealmeria.org
  • Mauthausen Memorial - for the Almerians imprisoned there during WW II - beside the Cable Ingles
  • Civil War tunnels - book ahead for visits turismodealmeria.org
Photos from our journal on this page and the next three.
Wishing you a great walk,
Elaine
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
Hi @Romer,
You are so right about Almeria being a place full of interesting sites to visit that will help you appreciate the areas you'll be walking through. One little known museum that I can highly recommend for getting a quick overview of the history of the area is the newish Centro de Interpretation on the Plaza de la Constitución. A one hour visit there will pay off handsomely!
  • Centro de Interpretation: Closed Mondays Tue-Sat 10-8:30; Sun 10-2 free turismodealmeria.org
  • La Alcazaba - Closed Mondays T-Sat 9-6; Sun 9-3 free Go early to avoid the crowds. museosdeandalucia.es
  • Cable Ingles - where the ore from the mines you'll be walking by was shipped out turismodealmeria.org
  • Mauthausen Memorial - for the Almerians imprisoned there during WW II - beside the Cable Ingles
  • Civil War tunnels - book ahead for visits turismodealmeria.org
Photos from our journal on this page and the next three.
Wishing you a great walk,
Elaine
Thank you!
I really am never going to get out of town - it all looks amazing! Do you know how far in advance tours need to be booked? My Spanish is terrible, so I'd prefer to visit the tourist office and book one of the tours for the next day, if that's possible (more for their sake than mine!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
Do you know how far in advance tours need to be booked? My Spanish is terrible, so I'd prefer to visit the tourist office and book one of the tours for the next day, if that's possible (more for their sake than mine!)
We went by their office in the morning and were able to get tickets for the same day, but I don't know if that's always the case. We were there in November.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I can tell you only that I have anecdotal reports from people who didn’t buy ahead of time and who were unable to get in. I will confess that one member of the Mozarabe mob who did not have a ticket and was unable to buy one that day sort of innocently walked in with the rest of us and was never challenged. But I would not recommend that strategy. ;)

The tickets are very cheap, about two or three euros, I think. So if you really want to go, I would just buy one or two online ahead of time and hope that the stars align for the visit.

It is really extremely interesting.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
1. As well as clothing, I'm considering whether I'll need my warm, but slightly bulky sleeping bag?

2. I was wondering where I could bank a few days by combining stages? I'm comfortable with 40km stretches, more if it's easy going, but I'd rather not be route marching through beautiful stages, or past cultural gems.
You'll be pleased that you carried a bag for
some nights between Hueneja and Granada. The albergues have blankets but it gets chilly - frosty mornings through March.

Stages to combine would be
1. Almeria to Santa Cruz de Marche a (but be aware that it’s hard going - flat but no traction on riverbeds)
2. Granada to Moclin (but be aware that the first part is ugly - could be skipped - and the end of the stage is a 4km climb)
3. Castro del Rio to Córdoba

Need any more?
There’s a shortcut from Castuera to Magacela that cuts out Campanario. You miss the chance to see the prehistoric ruin at La Haba near Campanario if you take it. So that’s for you to decide if you have an interest in that period.
Now that there are so many albergues between Almeria and Granada that’s probably your best bet for combining stages. Since you’re into historic cities you should also leave some time to look around Guadix. Less famous but very pleasant.
 

Rhomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2017)
Podiensis (2018)
Norte (2018)
You'll be pleased that you carried a bag for
some nights between Hueneja and Granada. The albergues have blankets but it gets chilly - frosty mornings through March.

Stages to combine would be
1. Almeria to Santa Cruz de Marche a (but be aware that it’s hard going - flat but no traction on riverbeds)
2. Granada to Moclin (but be aware that the first part is ugly - could be skipped - and the end of the stage is a 4km climb)
3. Castro del Rio to Córdoba

Need any more?
There’s a shortcut from Castuera to Magacela that cuts out Campanario. You miss the chance to see the prehistoric ruin at La Haba near Campanario if you take it. So that’s for you to decide if you have an interest in that period.
Now that there are so many albergues between Almeria and Granada that’s probably your best bet for combining stages. Since you’re into historic cities you should also leave some time to look around Guadix. Less famous but very pleasant.
That's so useful - thanks Raggy!
Guadix looks really interesting. I'm due to get there on one of the shorter days, so hopefully that will leave some time to explore.
Will probably plan for the longer route and take in the La Haba, but good to know there's an alternative, if time runs short!
 

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